Best in Energy – 26 May 2023

Nickel trade flows transformed after price spikes (Reuters

Maritime services firms end contracts with Gatik (Reuters)

U.S. shale slows research and development spend (Reuters)

China puts first commercial airframe into service (Reuters)

India’s coal generation and changing climate (Bloomberg)

Semiconductor firms push back against U.S. controls (WSJ)

U.S./China semiconductor security controls broaden (WSJ)

Norway’s complicated policy on oil and gas emissions (FT)

¹ Spiking commodity prices usually encourage changes in behaviour and innovation that have long-term impacts on production and consumption. In nickel’s case the surge in prices to more than $50,000 per tonne in 2007 has encouraged a long-term shift from cathodes and other highly refined forms of nickel to nickel pig iron (NPI) and other forms of lower-quality metal. At the time, many observers predicted users would never switch wholesale to NPI because of its quality issues. But businesses and markets are good at innovating around bottlenecks if the price incentive is strong enough.

EUROPE’s gas storage reached two-thirds full on May 24, the second earliest date in the last 13 years, and 57 days earlier than the average since 2011:

EUROPE’s gas prices are slumping to encourage more consumption by power generators and industrial users and slow the accumulation of inventories. Front-month futures have fallen to €25 per megawatt-hour down from €77 at the start of 2023 and a peak of almost €340 in August 2022:

Best in Energy – 2 February 2023

[MUST READ] Battery manufacturing ($FT)

Japan’s utilities try to diversify coal sourcing

Asia crude imports at record high in January

EU to launch global LNG price assessment

EU will need to cut gas use in winter 2023/24

U.S./Philippines reach deal on military bases

U.S. senators try to ban SPR oil sales to China

Qatar/Airbus reach aircraft settlement ($WSJ)

FRANKFURT, a proxy for northwest Europe, reached roughly 60% of the way through the winter heating season on February 1. So far the accumulated heating demand has been -17% below the long-term average and is the lowest since 2015/16 and before that 2006/07. But after an exceptionally long period of mild temperatures between December 19 and January 15, temperatures have turned significantly colder, causing the heating deficit to narrow slightly: